SILVER SMEs organised its 5th partners meeting on 26th – 27th April 2022 in Burgos, Spain. Organised and hosted by the Society for the Development of the Province of Burgos (SODEBUR), the meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the implementation progress of partners’ Action Plan for the Silver Economy and to visit on site some of our good practices from the Province of Burgos.

The diversity of the rural Silver Economy from meal delivery …

Partners had the opportunity to visit the premises of Hasta la Cocina, a catering SME operating in the village of Villangómez, 30 minutes from Burgos city. The two employees cook and deliver around 200 meals per week to the surroundings companies but also make home deliveries to older adults living in remote villages. About 20% of their clients are over 60 years old.

Hasta la Cocina was identified as a good practice within SILVER SMEs, as a company which developed a range of services dedicated to older adults. In most cases, families or children are the direct contact with Hasta la Cocina to order some homemade and healthy meals for their relatives.

Most of the surrounding villages are facing depopulation. During the COVID-19, many people left Burgos city and moved to rural areas. During the lockdown, Hasta la Cocina had much less orders from companies and more from this new population. The SME was also of great support at this period for isolated older adults who could enjoy the home delivery of fresh meals.

The SME started operating in 2016 and benefited from a micro-credit from Sodebur and from support provided by the Local Action Group Adecoar.

… to healthcare services …

In another village, Lerma, SILVER SMEs partners met the founder of Clínica Arlanza, a medical unit proposing a wide range of care services to the population. While being a dentist, the founder of Clínica Arlanza was aware of the various needs in rural areas in terms of health care, especially for older adults.

Before the clinic opened in 2017, the 3,000 inhabitants of Lerma had to drive to the city of Burgos to find health services. So, the idea came to set up a cabinet in the village to offer a variety of care. Clícina Arlanza started with a few specialists and now includes a dentist, nutritionist, physiotherapist, podiatrist and more. Around 60% of patients are over 60 and are in particular demanding for podiatry care. The cabinet employs 11 persons.

Clínica Arlanza was identified as a good practice by SILVER SMEs as an initiative proposing care services, in particular those targeting older generations, in rural areas and creating employments in the sector.

Clínica Arlanza received support from Sodebur, banks and from the European Fund for Regional Development.

… social activities and personalised home care offers.

Finally, partners had the opportunity to discuss with the SAE project project leader (Solutions and Support to the Environment). SAE’s objective is to diversify the services available for older adults in the region to make available services that don’t only target dependent older adults but also active ones looking for more social activities or specific support for some tasks. SAE takes into account the needs of older adults; therefore, they conducted surveys in different municipalities to assess the current and future needs of seniors. In 2018, they for instance interviewed 28 people over 65 and 21 over 80 in a rural municipality, to better grasp their needs.

Based on the conducted surveys, SAE developed more offers targeting older adults. They now propose physiotherapy and catering offers as well as a taxi service to and from the hospital for medical appointments. Municipalities can ask for these services to be available on their territory; in such case, they pay the service for their constituents.

The overall objective of SAE is from one side to improve the quality of life of older adults living at home, may they be active or fragile, and from the other to create jobs in the Silver Economy sector to revitalise the area and fight depopulation. This is why the initiative was recognised as good practice by SILVER SMEs.

The diversity of the good practices visited and the experience of these SMEs and local initiatives illustrate the wide range of services that can be developed within the rural Silver Economy to better meet the needs of older adults. In the mountainous Province of Burgos where depopulation is also a challenge, these initiatives also address the territorial attractiveness concern, by preserving a good quality of life and creating jobs.

During their study visits, partners were given the opportunity to meet other stakeholders who contribute to the vitality of the Burgos region in other sectors, such as culture, agriculture and tourism.

Looking for more good practices to support the development of the Silver Economy in rural and mountainous areas? Have a look at our good practices database, check out our best practices brochures and watch our best practices videos!